Millennial Travel Podcast

Vagabonding: The Art of Long-Term Travel with Rolf Potts

Matt Wilson
November 12, 2020

Rolf Potts is a legendary travel writer, who’s book Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel has been a classic piece of travel writing for many years.  Rolf’s writing has appeared in National Geographic, The Guardian, Outside, The New Yorker, and Sports Illustrated.  Potts has been part of creative writing workshops and/or taught classes at places like Paris American University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

In addition to travel writing and his Vagabonding success, Rolf Potts’ adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, driving a Land Rover across South America, and traveling around the world for six weeks with no luggage or bags of any kind.

Potts is also the author of Marco Polo Didn't Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer and the new edition of Vagabonding includes a foreword from Tim Ferriss.  Most recently Rolf has launched his own podcast called “Deviate”.

Rolf leaves the listeners with some final advice encouraging them to travel and reminding them that its not as difficult or as dangerous as they might think.  For more on this topic check out our Guide to Solo Travel.

In this episode of The Millennial Travel Podcast Rolf Potts and I discuss: 

What does it mean to be “time rich” versus most people travel in such a hurry? 

  • Rolf Potts explains how he taught English in Korea

What does Rolf Potts think about the digital nomad movement?

Why do people want to go back in time for nostalgic reasons when they travel? 

A quick story of when Rolf Potts got lost getting off the beaten path.

How people can cut the cord on their smartphone while traveling.

How can people truly disconnect, so they don’t get burned out? 

How to make your “vacation your vocation”.

What can we learn from the “slow food movement” or “slow travel movement”? 

How can people afford to travel more often and travel for longer?

  • Travel to cheaper places
  • He lives in Kansas because of the low cost of living, so he can afford to travel more often
  • Rolf does a lot of local activities and knows how to be a tourist in his own town.

What is Rolf Potts’ life like in Kansas and what does he appreciate about it? 

Rolf is from Kansas and learned to appreciate what he has at home.

How does an old school traveler like Rolf Potts feel about Instagram culture in travel?

The Millennial Travel Podcast Rapid Fire Questions I ask Rolf Potts: 

If he could go to one bar tomorrow what would it be? 

  • McGlinchey’s in Philadelphia or a Korean soju tent

If Rolf could take six months to travel anywhere where would he go? 

What is Rolf Potts’ favorite US National Park? 

  • Olympic National Park in Washington

Rolf Potts’ favorite piece of travel gear? 

  • You don’t need any luggage to have a good time, so he said good shoes or a smartphone. 

Resources from Rolf Potts: 

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify.

You can find all the links and past show notes on

Direct support for The Millennial Travel Podcast comes from The Millennial Travel Guidebook: Escape More, Spend Less, & Make Travel a Priority in Your Life... and from our new USA hiking and camping trips at Under30Experiences!

Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30Experiences and Author of The Millennial Travel Guidebook: Escape More, Spend Less, & Make Travel a Priority in Your Life. He is host of the Live Different Podcast, Millennial Travel Podcast, and formerly Co-founder of He is committed to helping people live more adventurous lives.


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